Water Conservation Survey
This brief survey assesses residential water usage and offers tips on how to reduce consumption. It was developed by Nisha Nalawade, a senior at DHS who, through UCONN's Conservation Training Partnership (CTP) Program, is working with the Darien Advisory Committee on Sustainability this summer. Nisha's project will help the town in its application to become certified through Sustainable CT. Please take a moment to complete the survey (one time only, please) to provide data for her research. Thank you!
Do you reside in:
How many people live in your household?
Households with more members should be especially mindful of water usage
About how much time do you spend in the shower?
An optimal time would be around 10 minutes. Some tips to help you use less water during showers are to install a low flow shower head, or listen to music as a way of timing yourself. Or you can simply keep a clock in your bathroom to time yourself. You can also collect water that runs in a pitcher/bucket while you wait for it to heat up, and reuse it for purposes such as watering plants
Do you take baths?
It's best to avoid taking baths as they can use an average of 35-50 gallons of water. A 10 minute shower on the other hand only uses 25.
About how long do you run bathroom faucets a day?
Turn off water when you brush your teeth as this wastes 3 gallons per minute. You can also install low flow faucets and fix any leaks.
About how long do you run kitchen faucets a day?
It's important not to run water while cooking. It's a good idea to install low flow faucets. To try and reduce water usage as much as possible you can wash produce in a bowl instead of using a faucet. You can also defrost food by leaving it in the fridge overnight rather than using water. In addition, avoid pre-rinsing dishes. Keep a pitcher in the kitchen to collect leftover drinking water which you can then use to wash vegetables, boil food, or water plants.
Do you have low flow faucets or toilets in your house?
These faucets can significantly reduce water usage. Your water usage can be cut from 3 gallons per minute to 1.5 gallons per minute.
How do you wash dishes?
A dishwasher, especially energy efficient ones (4.5 gallons) use much less water than washing by hand (20 gallons). Try not to use the dishwasher until there is a full load. Compost your food waste rather than putting it in the garbage can or garbage disposal.
How do you wash laundry?
Only wash clothes that are truly in need of being washed rather than after every wear. Only wash clothes when it makes up a full load in the washing machine. Consider drying your clothes on a clothes line or clothes rack rather than in the dryer to save energy and the water needed to produce electricity.
How many times a week do you water your lawn/garden?
You should try not to water your lawn too often, but if you do there are some tips to make the most of your water use. You should water your garden/lawn when the sun is lower in the sky (e.g. in the morning or evening/night) to avoid water loss due to evaporation. Also, try to avoid watering when it’s windy. Make sure sprinklers aren't watering sidewalks or driveways which wastes water and can wash pollutants/fertilizers into sewer systems. And don't use sprinklers when it's supposed to rain. You can also consider a smart irrigation system, which can make a big impact.
Do you know about the mandatory irrigation schedule for Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Newtown, Stamford and Westport customers of Aquarion?
If you don't here is a reminder on this link... http://www.aquarion.com/CT/irrigation
Do you use a rain barrel?
If you set it up under a gutter, you can collect up to 4 gallons of water a day. You can use this water to water your lawn or wash your car. You can also make your gutter downspouts and air conditioner drain line point toward a flowerbed, tree base, or other areas in your lawn.
Do you have a pool?
If you have a pool, use a pool cover and keep the temperature cool to prevent water loss due to evaporation. Also, check for leaks often.
How many miles do you drive a week?
0.75 gallons of water are needed to extract, refine, and transport enough gas to drive one mile, so try to drive less. Maintain your car and make sure tires are inflated properly, as this makes it run efficiently, saving gas. Don't let your engine idle. Additionally, it's a good idea to ride a bike, carpool, and use public transportation as much as you can.
How much of the energy your household uses is from renewable resources? (e.g. solar, wind powered, hydroelectric)
A lot of water is used to create electricity provided by power companies. You should try to conserve as much energy as possible. If you reduce your personal water usage, you reduce the energy needed to pump, heat, treat, and transport water. Try to make your house energy efficient or use renewable energy. You can install energy efficient LED lights too. Use hot water only when you need it, as heating water uses a lot of energy. You can also use solar hot water heaters.
How often do you shop not including groceries?
A lot of water is used to produce materials we buy. To reduce this virtual water usage buy only what you need, buy used items, repurpose as much as you can, donate as much as you can, and buy reusable materials.
Do you recycle paper?
Water is used to produce paper. To use less of it you can print less and use more digital devices, recycle mail once you've read it, make sure to stop getting junk mail, sign up for paperless billing, use your own mug for buying coffee rather than the paper cups, recycle cereal boxes, get a digital newspaper subscription, compost paper towels (or use towels instead), and buy paper products that are made with recycled material.
Do you avoid/reuse single use plastic?
Producing plastic uses a lot of water and energy, while also polluting bodies of water. Reduce plastic usage by avoiding drinking bottled water, as more water is used in making the plastic bottle than the amount you're drinking. Use reusable bottles for water and other drinks. Use reusable utensils if you get take out often, to reduce usage of plastic utensils. Use reusable shopping bags. Reuse as much plastic as you can, finding new purposes for them.
Do you recycle bottles and cans?
Try to use a reusable water bottle.
Do you donate or re-use old clothing, towels, or sheets?
Try to buy fewer clothes, sell or donate old clothes, and when buying clothes choose clothes made from cotton rather than unnatural fibers like polyester which can release microfibers and microplastics into water supplies.
What's your diet like?
A lot of water is used to make animal products, so try to eat more vegetables. This is because the food these animals eat require a lot of water to produce (corn/soybeans). 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef. Consider reducing your meat consumption. For example, try to practice Meatless Mondays as a start. Being vegetarian once a week can make a difference. Buy pasture-raised products because grazing animals require less water for their food. Try to reduce your consumption of animal products like dairy products and eggs. Nut milks also have a high water footprint, while dairy milk has the highest. Soy milk and oat milk are better options.These small changes can make a difference.
End
Thanks for taking this survey! Hopefully you learned from this survey the various ways you can reduce water usage, including virtual water use. Even small adjustments can make a difference.

To learn more - and the results of this survey - please join the Darien Advisory Committee and guest speakers for an informational workshop on water conservation:
Thursday, August 15th - 7 pm
Board of Education Meeting Room at 35 Leroy Avenue

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